Rhapsody, Child of Blood

Rhapsody, Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Rhapsody, Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Haydon
people, and even as half-caste she would be welcomed.
    He would have told her of the Oracle of Yarim, with its mad prophetess, and of the great city of Sepulvarta, where the priests held their temples and the people were ruled by the Patriarch. And he most certainly would have told her of the Great White Tree, but before he could they were back in the village, approaching the entrance of the meeting hall. He promised himself, as their steps slowed, that one day he would show her all the things he knew she wanted to see.
    When they came to the place he had found her hiding, she turned quickly to him as a thought occurred to her. "Do we have a patronymic? A family name?"
    Gwydion felt a shiver of delight pass through him at the thought of her sharing it, but was at a loss to explain the nomenclature to her. "Yes, sort of. It's complicated. And my name is different as well. You see, the way—"
    'Emmy, there you are! Where the blazes have you been? Justin is here, and he's looking everywhere for you, as are a few other people." Ben's voice was filled with relief as well as anger.
    Emily ignored the question, pulling Gwydion over to where her brother stood. "Hello, Ben. Did you enjoy the dance? This is Sam; Sam, this is my brother Ben."
    Gwydion put out his hand, and Ben looked at him for a second, shifting his focus.
    He shook Gwydion's hand, then turned to Emily again. "You're going to catch it when Father finds out."
    'Finds out what?"
    'That you didn't go to the dance."
    'I most certainly did go to the dance, and I had a wonderful time."
    Ben was turning red with annoyance. "You didn't dance once, Emmy. There are an awful lot of upset fellows in there."
    Emily started to laugh. "I did so dance, just not inside. You even saw me. Let it go, Ben; I had a lovely evening."
    'Emmy?" The new voice was deeper, and Gwydion turned to see a much older youth hurrying toward them. He also had dark hair, and he was a head taller than Emily. She ran to meet him and he lifted her off the ground in a wide embrace.
    'Happy Birthday, Ugly," he said affectionately, kissing her cheek. "Did you have fun?
    Was the dance nice?"
    'The best ever," she answered, grinning. She introduced her oldest brother, Justin, to Gwydion as well, and he walked with them to the wagon Justin had brought to drive her home in.
    As her brothers hitched the horses, Emily turned to him again. "Thank you, Sam,"
    she said softly. "I'll see you tomorrow."

    'At five on the nose. Happy birthday, Emily. I'll be thinking about you every moment until I see you again."
    She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and ran to the wagon. Pain welled up inside him; he had no idea how much truth was in the last words she heard from his lips.
    'I love you," he called after her as the horses began to pull away. She put her hand to her ear, signifying she hadn't heard him. He watched the wagon rumble off into the darkness, Emily waving until she was out of sight.
    '"Che next morning Gwydion rose before dawn with the other farmhands, preparing to work as the other men did, bare-chested in the summer heat. He wrapped his waterskin and dagger, along with his shirt, in his cloak and stowed it beneath the cot he had slept on.
    As he was putting it away he noticed three small, dark spots on the lining of the cloak. He pulled it back out and looked at it again; they were tiny bloodstains.
    Gwydion checked his back to see if he had been injured without his knowledge, but could find nothing. He stuffed it beneath the cot again and set to work on the day's chores. As a new hand he was given some of the lighter, but dirty, tasks, and he watched in dismay the inevitable and increasing soil on his trousers.
    When the farmhands took a break for breakfast at sunrise he went out to the pastureland, looking for flowers to give her. He spied a patch of wild columbines growing amid clouds of nymph's hair and decided they would be perfect flowers for Emily's birthday bouquet. Then he went to the well and washed

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